From the Trainer’s Room: Taking the time to prepare for competition can lead to success
Preparing for a game doesn’t start when you step on the ice. Preparation is really a daily process of repeating certain things that make you the player you are. Preparation starts with how you eat and sleep at home or on the road. I try to ingrain in all of the players we work with that preparation begins when you walk in the door of the rink.
In working with professional hockey players at the highest level, I must say the there is no one process that works for everyone. No matter the process, it must be repeated in the same fashion every time. This process may be altered throughout your career in order to meet the changing demands, but should remain stable.
Preparing mentally may include visualizing yourself on the ice and seeing different situations that may occur and how you will react. Preparing physically gets the body ready to compete as soon as you step on the ice. Physical preparation could include a dynamic warm up, jog, bike, stretch or foam rolling, and should finish right before putting your gear on. During both on- and off-ice warmups, you should include exercises and drills that require high intensity so that your body is prepared to go at full speed when the puck drops.
There are many keys to preparation that will evolve over time, so start today and get ready for competition.
Chris Phillips is a certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist with over 17 years’ experience in professional hockey. He is the owner of Compete Sports Performance and Rehab in Lake Forest.
(March 9, 2018)